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Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

Creating springy targets with the Hinge constraint


From:

Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

with Brian Bradley

Video: Creating springy targets with the Hinge constraint

Having looked at the first two options found in the Constraints flyout--Rigid and Slide--time now to take a look at using the third option available to us, which is the extremely useful hinge constraint. Just as we can with all MassFX constraints, we can apply the rigid body modifier, the constraint, and set up the parent-child relationship in just a few short steps. Before we do that, however, I just want to take a moment to highlight to you the location of the pivot points on the objects we will be constraining together.
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  1. 3m 27s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Working with the exercise files
      46s
    3. Setting up the 3ds Max project structure
      1m 43s
  2. 39m 20s
    1. Why simulate and not animate?
      3m 38s
    2. A look at gravity and drag
      3m 55s
    3. Understanding volume, mass, and density
      3m 45s
    4. What are Newton's laws of motion?
      3m 20s
    5. Finding believable frames per second and substeps
      3m 5s
    6. Understanding the difference between rigid and soft bodies
      3m 28s
    7. More about rigid body types
      3m 32s
    8. How collisions are calculated
      4m 35s
    9. Learning the difference between concave and convex meshes
      6m 24s
    10. What is a constraint and how do we use it?
      3m 38s
  3. 24m 20s
    1. A look at the MassFX and the 3ds Max user interfaces
      5m 52s
    2. Exploring the MassFX workflow
      5m 14s
    3. Discovering ground collision and gravity
      4m 49s
    4. Adjusting substeps and solver iterations
      3m 43s
    5. Using the Multi-Editor and the MassFX Visualizer
      4m 42s
  4. 44m 11s
    1. Breaking down the shot
      4m 51s
    2. Setting up the launchers
      3m 59s
    3. Setting up the drop system
      4m 30s
    4. Prepping the cans
      3m 33s
    5. Refining the simulation on the launchers
      5m 9s
    6. Refining the simulation on the colliders
      6m 5s
    7. Baking out the simulation for rendering
      5m 37s
    8. Reviewing the simulation with an animation sequence
      5m 3s
    9. Adding an animation override
      5m 24s
  5. 33m 32s
    1. Adding a rigid constraint and creating breakability
      8m 3s
    2. Creating a moving target with the Slide constraint
      4m 47s
    3. Creating springy targets with the Hinge constraint
      5m 59s
    4. Spinning targets using the Twist constraint
      4m 57s
    5. Creating crazy targets with the Ball & Socket constraint
      4m 58s
    6. Constructing a MassFX Ragdoll
      4m 48s
  6. 36m 51s
    1. Applying the mCloth modifier and pinning the hammock
      5m 55s
    2. Setting up the hammock's physical properties
      5m 39s
    3. Working with the mCloth interaction controls
      6m 14s
    4. Attaching the hammock to animated objects
      4m 5s
    5. Putting a rip in mCloth
      6m 14s
    6. Using mCloth to create a rope object
      4m 53s
    7. Creating a soft body object
      3m 51s
  7. 14m 47s
    1. Adding forces to a simulation
      5m 27s
    2. Putting forces to practical use
      5m 33s
    3. Using forces with mCloth
      3m 47s
  8. 35m 27s
    1. Walking through mParticles
      4m 38s
    2. Using fracture geometry
      6m 0s
    3. Creating breakable glue: Part 1
      4m 19s
    4. Creating breakable glue: Part 2
      5m 19s
    5. Creating a gloopy fluid: Part 1
      4m 14s
    6. Creating a gloopy fluid: Part 2
      4m 41s
    7. Adding forces to mParticles
      6m 16s
  9. 1m 5s
    1. What's next?
      1m 5s

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Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max
3h 53m Intermediate Feb 26, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course introduces basic physics simulation principles in Autodesk 3ds Max using MassFX, a system that makes it cost effective to animate rigid body objects, cloth, and particle systems. Author Brian Bradley introduces basic concepts such as gravity, drag, volume, and density, and how Newton's Laws of Motion can help you understand the interaction of objects with these unseen forces. Using the purpose built scene, Brian walks through the tools and features of the MassFX (PhysX) system, applying the principles discussed as he goes. Along the way, discover how to combine rigid bodies and constraints, mCloth fabrics, and mParticles geometry to create fairground-style effects.

Topics include:
  • Setting up your 3ds Max project
  • Understanding volume, mass, and density
  • Learning the difference between concave and convex meshes
  • Discovering Ground Collision and Gravity
  • Baking out a simulation for rendering
  • Adding an animation override
  • Adding Rigid constraints and creating breakability
  • Creating springy targets with the Hinge constraint
  • Spinning targets with Twist
  • Working with mCloth
  • Putting a rip in mCloth
  • Adding forces to a simulation
  • Using fracture geometry in mParticles
Subjects:
3D + Animation Particles Visual Effects
Software:
3ds Max
Author:
Brian Bradley

Creating springy targets with the Hinge constraint

Having looked at the first two options found in the Constraints flyout--Rigid and Slide--time now to take a look at using the third option available to us, which is the extremely useful hinge constraint. Just as we can with all MassFX constraints, we can apply the rigid body modifier, the constraint, and set up the parent-child relationship in just a few short steps. Before we do that, however, I just want to take a moment to highlight to you the location of the pivot points on the objects we will be constraining together.

As you can see, the pivots for both of these objects are set at the same height on the world Z axes. This is very important for the hinge constraint to work as we need it to in this scenario. With that noted then, let's left-mouse- click to select our parent object, which will be our right-side hinge, and then, holding down the Ctrl key, we can add our child object to the selection, which will be the door or target panel itself. Up on the MassFX toolbar, let's access the flyout and apply a hinge constraint.

Of course, we will need to apply our rigid body modifiers first, so we need to click Yes in our dialog. Then, as before, we can set the size of our constraint helper and then left-click to finish. Before we do anything else at this stage, we will need to fix our hinge object in place. We really don't want it to fall to the ground once our simulation starts. To do that, let's select it and go to the Modifier properties over in the Command panel. Here we need to set its rigid body type to be either static or kinematic.

Now, kinematic rigid bodies don't actually need to have any animation applied to them in order to be useful to us. In a case such as this, setting our rigid body to Kinematic will cause it to act in much the same manner as a static rigid body, holding our object in place for us. To demonstrate that this will work just fine, let's set our rigid body type to kinematic and then we can run the simulation. As you can see, our door sits nicely and then eventually gets hit by one of the flying spheres and reacts accordingly.

To add naturalness to the simulation, we will want to repeat this procedure for the opposite door, so let's step through that process now. We can set the size of our constraint helper object in the scene. Left-mouse-click to complete the operation. We need to set our Rigid Body modifier type to Kinematic. With that done, we can again run our simulation. Now, whilst our first constraint clearly is still working very nicely, we obviously have a problem with our second.

Behavior such as we are seeing here typically occurs when one or both pieces of geometry in the constraint relationship have been mirrored in some way. Now, I happen to know that both of these pieces of geometry have been mirrored, so we clearly have some work to do. In such situations, the best thing we can do is simply delete our rigid body modifiers and the constraint and start again. Let's do that. Before reapplying the constraint, we will need to use some standard 3ds Max tools to reset the transforms on our myriad geometry.

One very quick way of doing this, with our geometry selected, would be to come over to the Command panel and come into the Utilities tab. In here, we should see this Reset XForm, or Transform option. If we don't, we can just click on the More button at the top of the rollout and select this option from the list. Having clicked that option, because we have our objects already selected, we just need to hit the Reset Selected button and we are done. Now, we can reapply our hinge constraint using the same process as earlier.

So, let's left-mouse-click to select our parent object and then holding down Ctrl, we can click to add our child. From the MassFX toolbar, let's reapply our hinge constraint and set that up. Finally, we can switch our hinge geometry over to a kinematic rigid body type, and then we are ready to rerun our simulation. As you can see, now both constraints act as they should. For things to look natural inside of our simulation, we will obviously need to set up our target frame to be a static rigid body.

At the moment, our spheres appear to be passing through it, which would obviously detract from the final quality. As we have already seen, this is a very simple thing to do. We just need to select over frame geometry and then from the MassFX toolbar, apply a static rigid body modifier. The final step of course, over in the Modifier Properties, would be to set our Physical Shape Type to Original. One last thing we want from our swing doors is to have them eventually settle back into their starting positions.

Now, this is something we can easily set up using our constraint options. Of course, the first thing we need to do is select our constraint helper so that we can access its parameters. Then, if we come into the spring rollout, you can see we have the ability to set a Spring to Resting Swing value. As the name suggests, this option is designed to pull our object back to its original starting position. Let's set the Springiness to a value of 7 and the Damping to 0.05.

Again, we will want to apply the same parameters to the opposite constraint. Once we are done, we can run the simulation. And as you can see, our doors now swing very nicely, eventually looking to settle back into their start position. As you can imagine, if we had all of the targets in the scene set up and working in this fashion, we would again have created a fairly complex piece of background, or maybe even foreground, motion in a quick and easy manner using our MassFX tools.

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